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Daily Dose

Housing, Lending Activity Modest in Latest Beige Book

The last two months saw continued economic growth at a modest to moderate pace, according to reports in the Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book, released Wednesday. Since the previous Beige Book report, "barely half" of the reporting districts said they have experienced stability or growth in home sales and new construction, which each grew modestly.

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Home Purchase Apps Hit Near 20-Year Low

Based on weekly data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), macroeconomics firm Capital Economics calculated a 0.4 percent monthly decline in mortgage applications in August. It was the third drop in the last three months, following declines of 0.1 percent in June and 3.4 percent in July.

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Residential Construction Spending Sees July Upswing

Total construction spending, both private and public, surged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $981.3 billion, up from $906.6 billion in July last year. For private residential construction, the numbers reflected a 7 percent boost year-over-year, eclipsing new home data in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $358.1 billion.

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New Business Up, Overall Book Down at Fannie

A pickup in new business failed to provide positive growth for Fannie Mae's book of business in July, resulting in another month of contraction. The company reported -0.6 percent annualized growth in its book in July, marking the eighth straight month of declines. While still negative, July's negative growth rate was the lowest so far this year, bringing the year-to-date average to -2.0 percent.

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Annual Home Price Growth Slows to 7.4%

CoreLogic's Home Price Index (HPI) rose 1.2 percent from June to July, the company reported, lifting slightly from June's 1.0 percent monthly gain. The improvement includes both distressed and non-distressed sales. Compared to a year prior, July's index was up 7.4 percent, barely down from 7.5 percent in June. As of the July report, the national HPI has risen year-over-year for 29 straight months.

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FHFA Shifts Goals to Support Low-Income Borrowers

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed last week a rule to establish new housing goals for 2015 through 2017 for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For single-family housing goals for 2015 through 2017, FHFA requests comment on three alternative approaches regarding prospective benchmarks for low and very low-income families.

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Historical Home Search Trends Indicate Approaching Slump

Based on trend data collected from 2011–2013, Trulia reported Tuesday that home searches on its website nationally come in 6 percent below the annual average for the months of September and October as summer transitions into fall. Trulia's analysis follows a report last week from Redfin in which Chief Economist Nela Richardson predicted the strongest fall season in years for home sales as the market comes closer to balance.

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Payment Shock Looms with 2.5M HELOCs Poised to Reset

Payment shock among holders of home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) is a growing concern as 2.5 million HELOCs are scheduled to reset over the next three years, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor Report from Black Knight Financial Services. In fact, the average HELOC holder faces a monthly payment increase of $250 sometime in the next three years as he or she reaches the end-of-draw period.

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Mortgage Industry Convenes in Dallas at Five Star Conference

The key players from the housing and real estate industry will descend on Dallas, Texas, September 14 through 16 for the annual Five Star Conference and Expo. "We are truly excited to have business leaders and decision makers from all across the housing spectrum come and work together at the Five Star Conference this year," said Ed Delgado, president and CEO of the Five Star Institute.

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BofA Seeks to Overturn Fraud Verdict in ‘Hustle’ Case

Lawyers for Bank of America have filed to overturn a jury verdict last year that held the bank liable for fraud over faulty mortgage-backed securities sold by its Countrywide unit. In their motion, BofA's lawyers argue the government failed to prove the loans involved in the case were advertised as being higher quality than they were.

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